A few months ago, I posted my profile on Tech Cofounder.  It’s an interesting concept, where no technical people with a business idea can find like minded technical folk interested in developing something unique.

I had a few (minor) successes – Rugby Rank & My Club Manager.

But I’ve also had some quite unusual requests.  One in particular, is when a person starts the conversation with “Ok, before we start, I just need you to sign an NDA.”


So what is an NDA?

A Non Disclosure Agreement is a legal contract between two parties outlining certain knowledge or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but to restrict access to or by third parties.


Basically, I’m going to tell you my idea but you promise not to go away and take that idea and beat me to it.

How do I enforce an NDA?

A well written NDA will include jurisdiction.  Ie if we take this to court, that court will be in:  Sydney, Melbourne, New York, London etc…

Here’s a bonus question:  How many people do you know have 1) breached their NDA  2) have gone to court over it & 3) won some sort of compensation? (financial or otherwise)

When should an NDA have been used?

I found this interesting question on Quora.  Basically, what should have the Winklevoss twins done to protect them against Mark Zuckerberg pinching their idea and developing Facebook.


But instead of enforcement or when to sign an NDA, the more important question is:

What’s your value (in the Joint Venture) and what are you trying to protect?

Here’s the value I provide:

  • I’ll take the concept from idea to market very quickly!
  • I’ll develop the web, mobile (Apple / Android / Windows Phone)
  • I’ll put the metrics in place.  Ie  Number of trials, number of new users, number of paying users etc. etc.

What I’m expecting you to do:

  • You need to market this.  This is your idea, your insight.  You are the one with the knowledge of the customer pain point
  • You know who the customer is and how to reach them
  • You know the value this is is worth to the customer
  • You know who the competitors are and why your idea is far better than theirs


That being said, take one of my existing products – Rugby Rank

  • It’s statistical analysis for Rugby Coaches providing them unique insights on player performance
  • It works on the web and tablets (Android & iPad)
  • It’s a tool that shows you how a particular player (or your competition) perform on match day and how that performance compares over time


If you think you have enough information above to copy Rugby Rank then go for it!  What I haven’t told you is:

  • How do you get in front of the 1,000’s of Rugby Coaches
  • What’s the sale cycle – from trial to payment
  • What specific statistics are being recorded and why they were chosen


But honestly, the real reason is this:  If you have time to pursue an NDA, then you should be able to answer the following:

  • Where will the first 100 customers come from (once you go past friends & family, who is going to use this?)
  • Where’s the next 1,000 customers?  (Are you relying on going *viral*?)
  • How do we make out first $10,000?


If you can’t answer the above, then why are you spending time “protecting” your NDA?